Top Tips to Avoid Burnouts

This blog post was written by Emma, MA student in Wellness and Spa Service Design and Management ​​​​at University of Tartu.

Some people can be termed as a workaholic because they just won’t stop! If you are a fellow workaholic, then you’re probably prone to occasional burnouts too.  So, now, it’s that time of the year when classes are starting, there may be some exams for some, and some may be preparing for master’s final project which seems like a large beast that is out of control. On top of all the schoolwork you may find yourself struggling to work in friends and other life chores. You may even start to mismanage your time scheduling and doing basic chores around your apartment, let alone grocery shopping. At this point, you truly feel like I am experiencing a burnout.

Rasmus Jurkatam

Photo credit: Rasmus Jurkatam

According to the Merriam – Webster dictionary, burnouts are, “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration”. There are many reasons a person may experience a burnout due to school, work, relationships and so on.

Burnouts are not only bad for our health but also for the work we are trying to focus on. Some symptoms of a burnout include but are not limited to fatigue, insomnia, and forgetfulness, physical symptoms, loss of appetite, anxiety and depression.

Here are some of helpful tips to avoid burnouts:

Time Management

Time management is a soft skill that requires concentration and practice. It is important to learn how to value your time and manage it wisely. My best advice is to put all your mandatories (classes, meetings, doctor appointments) in a calendar to structure your full day.

Then, go one step further and schedule your time watching movies such as Netflix or going on trips, etc throughout your mandatories. You will really have to think, ‘do I really need to go out every Friday and Saturday for 4 weeks in a row?’ ‘Do I have enough time to watch that 4th episode of a soap series?’

Structuring your day and time will truly help you feel organized and better able to conquer the day.

Set Healthy Goals for Yourself the SMART Way

Goal setting may sound like something you do only for business classes or in a corporate workshop, but setting healthy goals can help you reach for something bigger. I find the easiest method for me is using SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound) goals. For example, some SMART goals I have set for myself are to write at least two blogs a month (it is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound). I also try to read at least 1 book a month (again this goal follows the SMART rules).

Credit: Tatiana Metsala

Photo Credit: Tatiana Metsala

Now whether you achieve these goals is one thing, but the beauty in setting healthy goals is that you can roll them over to the next month or week. Personal goals should not weigh you down, but rather give you something to reach for and easily attain.

It may take a few goals to practice, but I believe you will figure out ones that work best for you.

Here are some healthy goals using the SMART tool: 

Get Enough Sleep

Really, this point cannot be stressed enough. It is so important, especially as a young person, to get enough sleep. I am talking a full 7-8 hours to maintain a good state of mental health. Not only will you be more productive during lectures and seminars, but you will have more energy to spend time with friends!

Set Aside “Friend Time”

Surround yourself with people who can relax you and make you feel comfortable and confident. Go see a movie, visit a museum or experience a concert to get your mind away from work.

Set Aside “Me Time”

Remember that you are #1 and if you need a Netflix and stay in bed night, do it. Your well-being is the top priority. Also, getting some exercise will help boost your creativity, especially walking outside and experiencing the outside world.

Renee Altrov

Photo credit: Renee Altrov

I know that this time of the year can be very stressful and difficult to manage. But with some of these tools I hope you are now better equipped to take on the challenges ahead. Don’t forget that Universities in Estonia all have great Counselling Service that is always there to help you no matter how big or small your concern may be.


Good Luck!

Emma, Study in Estonia Student Ambassador from University of Tartu.


Find out which international degree programmes are available for you in Estonia. 


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